A series of stirring eulogies boomed out across John Bosco Place in Port Chester Thursday morning, as family, friends and fellow firefighters honored the life of Charles Melillo.
Melillo—a 27-years-old EMT and volunteer firefighter—died Sunday of what doctors believe to be the result of a recent football injury. Melillo had a helmet-to-helmet collision weeks ago while playing semi-pro ball with the Westchester Vengeance, and was slated for a surgery just days before he passed.
With Holy Rosary Church at full capacity, dozens of firefighters, police and EMTs lined the street outside the church, where two tall speakers echoed remarks from Melillo's close friends and family from inside the building.
In a moving piece penned by his younger brother and read by a cousin, the junior Melillo lauded his brother as his "captain and role model."
An entire block was closed off by emergency vehicles, with a sprawling American flag hung from two ladder trucks.
Melillo's love for his family, selflessness toward his friends and career in medicine moved a legion of speakers and onlookers to tears. Born Feb. 4, 1985, in Port Chester, he was a lifelong Port Chester resident and a graduate of Port Chester High School. He was an EMT with Empress EMS and with Harrison EMS.
The funeral mass was followed by burial in Saint Mary’s Cemetery in Rye Brook.
Memorial donations may be made to: Harry Howard Hook and Ladder Co. 1, P.O. Box 1513, Port Chester; or, to Harrison EMS, 2 Pleasant Ridge Road, Harrison; or, Westchester Vengeance football team, 60 Harding Ave., Yonkers.